List of FMS Posts
Select an issue from one of the years below
(Click to Expand)
Witchcraft in the Church
Last month, in the teaching monograph we entitled “ ‘Channeling’ Through the End Door,” we studied the laws regarding necromancy. Early in his reign, King Saul himself had executed or driven from the land the wizards, necromancers, etc. But then we saw how Saul became so beset with fear that he traveled by night to consult the witch of Endor in his attempt to get some guidance from the recently deceased prophet Samuel.
Having been assured by the king that she would not be put to death, the witch of Endor “did her thing” and “brought up” an apparition. Note that King Saul probably saw nothing at all because he had to ask the witch what she saw. She told him she saw an old man covered with a mantle. From that, Saul concluded that it was indeed Samuel (1 Samuel 28:14) —but was it really?
We concluded last month by pointing out that God had turned a deaf ear to Saul. He was no longer answering Saul’s prayer requests, not by dreams, nor by Urim and Thummim, nor by prophets (1 Samuel 28:6). It stands to reason that since Samuel was a prophet, that whatever apparition the channeler at Endor saw, it was not Samuel! Nevertheless, King Saul speaks to the apparition telling it of his desperate need for some advice regarding the invading Philistines.
1 Samuel 28:16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing YHWH is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
17 And YHWH hath done to him, as he spake by me: for YHWH hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of YHWH, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath YHWH done this thing unto thee this day.
19 Moreover YHWH will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: YHWH also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
In 1 Chronicles 10, we will see another reason why the apparition was not really Samuel, but an evil spirit. Here the reasons are given why God slew Saul.
1 Chronicles 10:13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against YHWH, even against the word of YHWH, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;
14 And enquired not of YHWH: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
Let’s analyze this. To repeat, what are the reasons given here for Saul’s death? First, he kept not the word of YHWH, which has reference to Saul’s disobedience in the matter of Agag and the Amalekites. Secondly, God slew Saul because he asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit. Yet, back in 1 Samuel 27:18, the necromancer’s apparition entity omits this second reason—consulting a medium—which is something the real Samuel, who was so zealous for God’s laws, would never have omitted.
Conversely, an evil spirit would never say: “Uh, Saul, like, uh, hey man, don’t you know you shouldn’t be consulting a medium?” That would be selfdefeating. Jesus referred to this very type of scenario in…
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
So obviously, this evil spirit manifesting through this channeler is not going to tell the whole truth because that would be satan rising up against himself. But note that the entity did tell much truth by predicting the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul. This news totally devastated Saul. He appeared to be so weak that the witch feared he would expire and she would be revealed and executed after all. So she persuaded him to eat a hearty meal, after which he departed (vv. 20-25). So it looks like the final door is about to close. Saul is going through the End Door, and for him, it is a door that leads to death. (By the way, those of us old enough to remember the old sitcom Bewitched may remember that Darren’s motherin-law was a witch named Endora. Hmmm.)
From a prophetic perspective, this story tells us that just before the Saul church falls on its own sword, it will be involved in witchcraft from head to sole (soul). Now, I don’t doubt that there are many church leaders who are secretly involved in séances and who are into channeling and all those sorts of things that are normally associated with witchcraft.
But having acknowledged that, let me suggest a few other ways that the church has been or is involved in witchcraft. First, witchcraft has to do with sorcery and in both the Septuagint OT and in the New Testament, it is translated from the Greek word pharmakeia, from which we get the word “pharmacy.” Sorcery and witchcraft have to do with drugs!
The book of Revelation prophesies about the secret, world-ruling empire in our time that is called “Mystery, Babylon the Great.” Jesus via John reveals the method it uses to deceive all nations.
Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries [drugs] were all nations deceived.
Everyone is aware of the horrendous impact that the illicit drug trade has had upon our nation. But I believe that the sorceries mentioned in Revelation are not only the illegal drugs, but also the legal ones manufactured by the pharmaceutical cartel. And now our legislators have just passed an enormous bill so that taxpayers can finance more drugs for the elderly. It is a huge advance of socialism, not to mention promoting more witchcraft-pharmakeia.
But getting back to the Saul church and its connection with sorcery and witchcraft, I cannot help but think that Karl Marx was correct when he wrote that religion is the opiate of the people. I regret to say that many Christians have become addicted to the drug of religion.
Vast numbers of Christians have become mindnumbed automatons who dutifully go to church every week to get their fix. Like a drug, their religion is a fix, because it is the same old watered-down gospel and get-saved message time after time. When people hear that for years on end, they become virtually incapable of any independent thinking on spiritual matters and thus their spiritual growth stops at the pygmy stage. They are addicted and there they stagnate.
In many churches, part of that watered-down gospel involves the doctrines of this almost sovereign devil called Lucifer. He seems to be virtually immortal since he’s been around for countless ages now. He’s able to tempt millions of people simultaneously so that gives him the God-quality of omnipresence. He knows just how to tempt you and millions of others and he knows how to wreak havoc with the whole world and so he is darn near omniscient, too. Then, his power to destroy and corrupt is so enormous and pervasive that he’s bordering on omnipotence.
Of course, the average Christian is told that it’s a huge battle between God and the devil, but that God is going to win in the end. However, there is so much emphasis given and attention paid to “the devil,” that people’s minds are more focused on this alleged super spook than on our Father…which is a form of idolatry.
Furthermore, the false doctrine of a burning hell, under the supervision of the Prince of Darkness, with hordes of demons at his command, is part of the witchcraft of the Saul church. How so? Because these teachings give existence, they give substance, they give credibility, and they give power over peoples’ lives to gods which are no gods. By enchanting the minds of Christians with these fables and the related fable of life immediately after death, Christians are led unwittingly into idolatry.
Ironically, while involved in all these forms of hidden witchcraft, the church has claimed righteousness for executing “witches” who were no more than herbalists and natural healers. A further irony is that this story of King Saul consulting the witch of Endor is itself occasionally used to teach that the dead are not really dead. A closer examination of the story, however, will reveal certain “grave” reservations to allowing this to prove any such thing. The remainder of this monograph is being adapted from a four-tape lecture from some years back which I called The Truth about Hell, Soul and Spirit (audiotapes #310 through #313; $18 ppd. Or get those, plus six related tapes, in album A-103. $33 ppd. See SKM Order Form.)
So does this story of the apparition of Samuel prove that there is life immediately after death? In the first place, it is a bold and unwarranted assumption to claim that Samuel actually appeared. I know it says Samuel said this or Samuel said that, but that is considered by many scholars, ancient and modern, to be a figure of speech; specifically, it is metonymy.
About a century ago, Dr. Bullinger wrote a book of nearly a 1,000 pages dealing with figures of speech in the Bible. But I also have another book of over 1,000 pages on similar subject matter. The author is named Benjamin Keach and he was a famous English Baptist preacher who was born in 1640. Under one of the many varieties of metonymy that he lists he says this [emphasis mine-JWB]:
“In Holy Scriptures sometimes things are named and described according to appearance or men’s opinion and not as they are, in their own nature. This happens. 1. In single words, as Nouns and Verbs. 2. In a conjunct phrase. 1. In Nouns, 1 Samuel 28: 14, 15, 16, 20. That diabolical spectrum or apparition raised by the witch of Endor in the likeness of Samuel, is called Samuel, because he falsely gave out that he was Samuel, and the deluded spectators thought him so.”
Keach then goes on to list numerous other and similar examples of this kind of metonymy. So just from a grammatical analysis alone, we have strong evidence that it was not really Samuel who appeared. Moreover, the passage indicates that Saul did not see anyone. He had to ask the woman necromancer to describe what she saw. Based upon her description, “Saul perceived that it was Samuel” (v. 14).
So Saul assumed from her description that it was Samuel. The ensuing conversation (vv. 15-20) is then given from Saul’s perspective that it was actually Samuel with whom he was speaking—or at least with the spirit of Samuel. But as we have shown in previous studies [in tapes #310-313], the spirit is not the person.
When death occurs, the spirit (breath, vitalizing force/energy) returns to God, the body decomposes in the grave and the soul “is not;” i.e., it no longer exists. Samuel had died. He no longer existed. That is why I emphasized in last month’s FMS (pg. 2) that the Scripture writer reiterated that fact that…
1 Samuel 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him
His body was in the process of decay. Without the joining of body and spirit, there is no soul, so Samuel’s soul did not exist. As we noticed by the use of the phrase “bring up” a few minutes ago, we know that necromancers claim to bring up the spirit of a dead person, as though from sheol, a Hebrew word meaning “the grave.” But the spirit of the dead one is not in sheol. Only the body is in the grave, sheol. The spirit of the dead one has gone back to God, as it tells us plainly in…
Ecclesiastes 12: 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
One might respond: “Well, maybe God sent Samuel’s spirit back temporarily.” But there is no possibility that this “spirit” could have been Samuel because the word spirit, when referring to a person’s spirit, is in the Hebrew language either ruach or neshamah. But in every case in the Bible where we find the phrase “familiar spirit,” those two words are translated from one Hebrew word, owb, (Strong’s #178), which Dr. Strong defines as:
“prop. a mumble, i.e. a water-skin (from its hollow sound); hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar)”
To explain further, when mediums go into trance, the voice they often emit is a deep, hollow sound, as though coming from the echoing cavity of a water bottle. Thus, a “familiar spirit” is the mumbling of a usually self-deluded ventriloquist-necromancer, or an evil spirit impersonating someone who has died, but it is not the spirit of the person him/herself. It is important to note that in the Scriptures, the person is represented as being where the body is. (E.g., see Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29; 11:17; 12:17; Acts 2:29; 5:5 10; 8:2; 1 Cor. 15:4, 35.)
In this case then, King Saul was deceived into thinking he was hearing from Samuel the prophet. Unquestionably, God gave Saul this deception. As we stated a few minutes ago, this was just the final job for the evil spirit in the life of Saul. But does this not contradict what I was just stating about the false doctrines of hell and the devil and so forth? Not at all. I believe there are evil spirits. The Scripture is clear about that. But the Saul church through the ages has taken that truth and created this Dante’s Inferno-style hideous myth of a realm which does not exist.
Evil spirits do exist, but each and every one of them are under the supreme command and direction of the Creator. If there is any intermediary devil involved upon occasion, then he has no autonomous power or authority. He is always on a short leash strapped to the left hand of the Father.
That God allowed the witch of Endor to prophesy truthfully concerning Saul and Israel’s fate on the morrow is beside the point and proves nothing about what the apparition was. After all, we recall that God caused the false prophet Balaam to prophesy blessings on Israel against Balaam’s will. (Numbers 24)
Now, notice also in verse 14, what did Saul do when he thought it was Samuel? It says “he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.” If the entity were truly Samuel, Samuel would not have permitted this act of worship. But this spirit did not rebuke Saul, as we find an angel does to John in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (See also Revelation 22:8.)
Another objection to allowing this passage to teach that when we die, we don’t really die, is that even if we were to agree that this really was Samuel here, it does not at all prove that he was alive in sheol or anywhere else for that matter either before or after “his” appearance to Saul via the witch. Nor would even just this one case of it—if it were true—allow us to conclude that therefore all dead people are similarly alive. I continue to believe that the dead are dead.
Here is another thought to consider: If we accept this was the real Samuel, then we are believing that an evil witch has the power to resurrect a person from the grave. The Bible nowhere attributes such a power to witches and it makes a mockery of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is it conceivable that God could have temporarily resurrected the real Samuel as a deception to Saul? Highly unlikely, especially since He had gone on record as refusing to answer Saul by a prophet. So why would He now resurrect His prophet to answer Saul?
It is much more likely that since God had sent an evil spirit against Saul for many years, this apparition was also an evil spirit sent from God. It impersonated Samuel, and God used this means to announce the imminent death, not only of Saul, but of three of his sons, and of the disastrous defeat about to come upon the armies of Israel. Meanwhile, all Saul had to do was repent and seek forgiveness by confessing. What a tragedy! And yet, as we know, it was all part of the great Plan and purpose of the Father.